Vauxhall unveils MX-5 style GT Concept ahead of Geneva debut

New concept set for Geneva debut is front-engined rear-wheel drive Vauxhall

Vauxhall is set to display one of the Geneva motor show's most exciting cars when the show opens its doors in early March.

The Vauxhall and Opel GT concept is a compact, front-engined, rear wheel drive sports car, taking its visual inspiration from two historic models, the 1966 Vauxhall XVR and the 1965 Opel Experimental GT.

Classical sports car proportions - a long bonnet, short cabin and low profile - hide a 1-litre, turbocharged three cylinder like that found in the Adam, Corsa and Astra. Unlike those three cars it sends power to the rear wheels, through a six-speed sequential transmission, itself controlled by steering wheel mounted paddles.

>Read our Mazda MX-5 review

Power output is quoted as 143bhp, with torque of 151lb ft. The result, aided by a sub-1000kg kerb weight, is a sprightly 0-62mph time of under 8 seconds, and a top speed of 134mph. Those figures put it in the same ballpark as the 1.5-litre variant of the Mazda MX-5 (8.3sec and 127mph), which open-topped roof aside would be a natural rival should Vauxhall choose to produce the GT.

Not that the concept looks particularly production-ready. Unlike Toyota's similarly lightweight coupe concept, the S-FR, the GT is a concept car in the truest sense of the word

From the red front tyres - a colour theme that extends into the roof, via a strip used as a touchpad to open the doors - to the intricate wheels and those doors themselves, which open into the front wings, it's a riot of fanciful detailing. But it's also undeniably attractive, and easy to imagine its form used on a real production car - one with door mirrors, conventional doors and a less extravagant wheel design.

Some details on the concept are based on Vauxhall's current technology too, notably the integrated headlight and indicator units. These use the firm's IntelliLux LED matrix lighting technology, already used in the current-generation Astra.

We'll bring you more details on the striking concept from the show itself in early March. Keep your eyes peeled on evo.co.uk for a full Geneva motor show preview soon.

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